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Top MuckReads: Birth Control, Romney’s Past and Cheating Doctors

Our rundown of this week’s best investigative or accountability journalism.

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop on Jan. 1, 2012, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Romney's tenure at Bain Capital comes under scrutiny in one of this week's top #MuckReads. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to MuckReads@ProPublica.org. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.

Members of FDA Panel Reviewing the Risks of Popular Bayer Contraceptive Had Industry Ties, Washington Monthly
A panel charged with reviewing a popular birth control pill had at least four members with undisclosed financial ties to the drug. The panel ruled in favor of the drug by four votes.
Contributed by @sebastianojones

Federal Highway Dollars Pay for Southern Oregon Bus Shelters That Cost as Much as a House, The Oregonian
A few benches and a small roof. Surely can’t be too expensive, right? Turns out five bus shelters being built in the southern Oregon city of Grants Pass are estimated to cost $106,000 apiece, with the money coming from federal highway dollars.
Contributed by @writeo

Haitian Farmers Undermined by Food Aid, The Center for Public Integrity
In the months following Haiti's January 2010 earthquake, the U.S. sent $140 million of aid in the form of food from American farmers. Critics allege that it was more about helping Americans than Haitians, and the money could have been better spent buying food from struggling Haitian farmers.
Contributed by @iWatch

The 20 Biggest Donors of the 2012 Election (So Far), Mother Jones
Due to the new rules of campaign finance, people can make unlimited donations to Super PACs, or groups not officially connected to candidates but campaigning on their behalf. Here are the 20 people making the most of their freedom, and what they’ve spent their money on.
Contributed by @MotherJones

Romney at Bain: Big Gains, Some Busts, The Wall Street Journal
Among 77 businesses Bain invested in during Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital, 22 percent filed for bankruptcy or closed by the end of the eighth year after Bain first invested. The deals produced great returns for investors, but over 70 percent of the dollar gains came from just 10 of the deals.
Contributed by @WSJ

Doctors Cheated on Exams, CNN
Doctors have been cheating on radiology board exams for years, memorizing test questions and passing them on to future exam-takers. Passing the exam is virtually required to obtain hospital privileges.
Contributed by @charlesornstein

These stories and many more can be found at ProPublica. You can also subscribe to a daily #MuckReads email or follow ProPublica on Twitter. Reader submissions are key to making #MuckReads a success -- please contribute!

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